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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Aslan's Resting Place in Kremlin's Kunstkamer

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One day Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was sitting in his office with a smile on his face, picturing his family around the breakfast table that morning: his smartly dressed spouse and daughters Katya and Masha. Vladimir Vladimirovich solemnly wished them a happy International Women's Day and presented them with bouquets of special presidential tulips with petals in the form of double-headed eagles. Just then the phone rang. "Hey, pal," Federal Security Service director Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev said anxiously. "We've got a situation."

"Where?" Vladimir Vladimirovich asked. "Is Ramzan dead?"

"Someone's dead alright," Nikolai Platonovich replied, "but it's Aslan, not Ramzan."

"Aslan who?" Vladimir Vladimirovich asked.

"Maskhadov, who else?" Nikolai Platonovich said. "But we didn't mean to!"

"Maskhadov?" Vladimir Vladimirovich said in surprise. "What did he ever do to you?"

"Like I said, we didn't mean to. We wanted to talk with him," Nikolai Platonovich said. "Maybe make him commander of a platoon. But one of his guards fired a shot without looking and hit Aslan," said Nikolai Platonovich. "In other words, it wasn't our fault."

"Gotcha," Vladimir Vladimirovich said. "Thanks for brightening up my holiday, pal."

"But we didn't mean to!" Nikolai Platonovich whined. "It just sort of happened."

"Now the human rights activists will start howling that we should end the war," Vladimir Vladimirovich said.

"Whaddya mean, pal?" said Nikolai Platonovich, almost breaking into tears. "How can we end it?"

"All right," Vladimir Vladimirovich said. "Let's act as if the whole thing was planned. A special operation with federal agents on the inside. You know the drill. Hop in the car and get over here. Meanwhile I'll contact the press. By the way, are there any body parts left over?" Vladimir Vladimirovich asked.

"Body parts?" Nikolai Platonovich asked.

"You know," Vladimir Vladimirovich said. "For my collection."

"We'll bring over the whole body if you want," Nikolai Platonovich offered. "A real mummy!"

"And what am I supposed to do, stick him in the pantry?" Vladimir Vladimirovich asked.

"It'll be just like the Mausoleum!" Nikolai Platonovich exclaimed.

"Nah," Vladimir Vladimirovich said. "Not the whole body. Just get over here. This isn't the kind of thing you can discuss over the phone."

Maxim Kononenko's satirical vignettes are found on his web site,